A triple homicide such as the drug-related Forestville incident on Feb. 5 isn't the average assignment for the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department.
"The last triple homicide in Sonoma County was in about the 1980s," Lt. Dennis O'Leary told reporters at a news conference at the Sheriff's Department in Santa Rosa on Friday.
In the wake of three arrests in three weeks and an investigation that sent detectives to several states, the department is applauding its staff, some of whom remain in the field, out of state, O'Leary said.
The case involved a former Petaluma man, Raleigh Butler, 26, who was known to be dealing marijuana. Butler was killed along with two others in what has been characterized as a pot deal gone bad, according to Sheriff's investigators. Marijuana was reportedly found in the home where the men were gunned down, on Ross Station Road. An investigation in Alabama, Colorado, and New Mexico led investigators to believe that three suspects played a role in the murders of Butler, Todd Klarkowski, 42, of Colorado, and Richard Lewin, 46, of New York, Leary said.
Working off some leads and surveillance video images from a gas station—recently released to the public—detectives tracked the suspects down, O'Leary said.
"They worked long hours in unfamiliar territory and in extreme weather conditions and so they are to be commended," he said.
A father and son have been arrested in the case. Francis R. Dwyer, age 65, was taken into custody at his residence in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Odin Leonard Dwyer, age 38, was arrested just outside Denver, Co.
A third suspect, Mark Capello, was arrested in Alabama on Feb. 14.
The three men will all face some type of homicide charges and will be brought to Sonoma County jail in the near future, O'Leary said. The District Attorney will provide details of the specific charges soon, he said.
O'Leary said the men all knew each other through the drug trade. He said he couldn't report yet who fired the weapons, who had more culpability or whether the incident was linked to organized crime.
While the suspects were from states far and wide, the specific range of the marijuana operation was not known at this time, he said.